Fashion in Rwanda: Clothing and the Human Spirit

A couple of years go I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Rwanda with Arthur Karuletwa, owner and founder of Inzozi Coffee Traders.  Wanting to be of service after the genocide in 1994, Karuletwa, a native Rwandan, has worked tirelessly to heal his country through his love of the Rwandan people and his love of coffee.

I was thrilled that he allowed me to tag along to see how coffee travels from the tree to the cup. We were there during the sixteenth anniversary of the genocide, and the aftermath was palpable in the faces and lives of the Rwandan people. We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center as well as the Nyamata Genocide Memorial, a church where over 10,000 people were murdered, and their clothes lay piled between the bullet riddled walls to commemorate the mass killing. Clothing becoming a powerful representation of the human spirit.

I could, have, and will write more about Karuletwa and the healing of Rwanda, but this is, after all, a fashion blog. Everywhere we went my eye turned toward amazing style.  Wherever we drove, I sat behind our driver, (whose name was Africa), and saw almost daily, this shirt:

Africa wearing Obama.


As I turned my lens to the farmers and other Rwandans, I was constantly seeing stunning colors; fashion that was bound up in each person’s character. Not everyone can sport these looks with equal aplomb.

My future posts will explore recurring style themes I noticed in Rwanda. For now, my fashion tip of the day is: go get yourself some pink socks.


About lixilamb

Artist, Author, Filmmaker.

One comment

  1. Michael von Braithwaite

    The use of color is 100% breathtaking! Wow.

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